Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The $30 Therapy Session

"Write hard and clear about what hurts."

....Ernest Hemingway.

In 9th-grade English, we had to memorize a long list of famous authors and their most well known works. My friends and I came up with fun/weird tricks to keep it all straight. For Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, we told ourselves that Hemingway sounded like hemorrhoids, and hemorrhoids make your arms fall off. There may be some sliiiiight scientific/medical inaccuracy to our methods, but.....looks like I still remember that book title, 14 years later. I win, science. I freakin' win.

This blog post is totally not about Ernest Hemingway, anatomy, disease or memorization techniques. It's about that first quote up there....the one about things that hurt.

I'm never quite sure how to write about stuff that hurts, in a public setting like a blog. I can get real honest in my personal journal, and in emails to close friends, but when it's a public setting I'm suddenly tap-dancing all over that line between "relatable and honest" and "TMI this is getting awkward" or "you're being so vague I actually don't know what you're talking about or specifically going through."

Two nights ago, when I was alllllmost asleep, I burst into tears for no apparent reason. (How's that for specific?)

We're talking, full on woke myself up crying and took a few minutes to calm down. And when something like that "randomly" happens, I think it's pretty safe to say mayyyybe there's some unresolved troubles floating around in your head/heart/soul/cells.

You know that particular way that your whole body can physically hurt when you've gone through something emotionally traumatic? It usually happens to me after bad breakups. Why do I feel heartache in my arms? No idea. It has no business being there, the tactless little jerk.

Anyway, after this onslaught of bedtime tears the other night, I laid there and felt that ol' throb in my chest and arms. And then I had one of those "being single is the ultimate worst" moments, because how nice would it have been to not be totally alone in my room/bed at that moment? Real talk: being single has its perks. I know I get to have many adventures and run around all fancy free and be the envy of all my friends who can't live that kind of spontaneous whimsy. But then there are nights when your eyes are leaking and your arms are hurting and there is not a single soul around to make it better, so, don't get too jealous of my freedom too fast. I'm not a really touchy person in terms of casual physical affection with people I'm not dating, so, it was definitely an anomaly in that moment when I was curled up all small in my bed and thought, "I just want someone to touch me." Which I don't know how to word in any way that doesn't sound creepy or molest-like, but, you know what I mean. I needed the reassurance of some solid physical human contact, not in a weird way, and I had nada on hand. And since I'm not into cheap thrills, my options boiled down to........

Booking a massage.

There's this fab little $30 full-body Asian massage place ($30 for an hour!) up the street from me (I love you, California) that I go to from time to time. And after my little midnight bout with my lonely demons the other night, I knew I needed this. And so I went. I totally didn't have time to go, but I went. It meant working late, which is kind of my M.O. lately anyway (you could argue that this is why my body is stressin', but I like my job and I need the $$$ so the long days/nights just are what they are right now because times and seasons of life, yo, and that's what I want/need to be doing right now), but I still went. Because it was either that or real therapy, and I can't afford real therapy. Well, I could afford it if I didn't spend money on travel or books or eating out or movies or french fries or all the things I like to do, but, then my life would be sad and I'd need even *more* therapy. Maybe that's how they hook you, come to think of it.

I'm going to sound like an infomercial for massage therapy for a second, but I really do believe there's restorative power in physical touch. Five minutes into my massage, my head was still buzzing with all sorts of buzzy things. But twenty minutes in, I'm pretty sure I briefly fell asleep. Or, at least entered some kind of zen, dreamlike state. Which, was everything I needed right then in that moment. It was a delicious 60 minutes, let me tell you.

Buzz kill: I don't feel all better -- I wish I could say I did.

My head and heart are at so much war right now. Not with each other, just with.....things. (Ah, vagueness again. I am failing Ernest Hemingway so hard right now.) My head and heart aren't at war with each other, which is what most people seem to mean when they say that. They're actually in league together, and at war against a whole tumult of outside circumstances. So at least we're all on the same team inside my bod, if I'm focusing on the positive :) (Another positive: since I felt better during my massage, maybe I just need one of those daily. Is that in my budget? Shhh) (Twice a day? YEAH GO TEAM!)

I haven't even gone back to read this ramble and I'm already fairly confident that it might not make a lot of sense. And it certainly isn't as clear as Mr. Hemingway urged me to be. So maybe I'll never end up on a list of authors that some kid has to memorize someday (at which time they hopefully associate me with an uncomfortable medical situation, because, karma). But maybe I just wanted to write hard and clear about the fact that something DOES hurt, even though I don't feel like I'm quite at the point to open up about what/why.

So there you go. Hard and clear. Emphasis on the hard. Emphasis on the $30 massage therapy. Emphasis on the it's time to wrap up now or this ramble will only get worse's Thanksgiving Eve, you guys. I'm headed out of town for the weekend with a couple friends because I saved my trip home to AZ for Christmas, and, every single lady and fella knows that the last thing you should do on a holiday weekend is sit around your own apartment by yourself. That's like the first rule in the handbook, and I'm no fool.

Also I got a Christmas tree and she is beautiful and you will get to see and hear everything about her at the end of the month because I have to make sure I have all the good stories lined up and visitors photographed and gosh if she isn't having her own party next week and you know I have to save her blog feature until after that. Stay tuned for tales of the tree, and.......



karajean said...

I love this quote because it is so simple but so important.
The key to any great piece of prose (in and out of blog-land) is relatability (I think). In my experience, the problem with many blog posts is that they are too vague, which is distracting to the reader. When I started this post and read the line about feeling heartache in your arms I was like - "YES! EXACTLY! (Except I feel it in my chest... like a 500 pound elephant is sitting on me.) By the time I got to the end of the post, however, I was too busy trying to figure out what you were talking about that there was little room left for sympathy or relatability. I was lost in theories about what might be going on in your life :)

(I hope this doesn't sound like I am saying this is a bad post. It's not! I enjoyed it. I just wanted to comment on the quote because it is one of my very favorites. Another one I like about writing says that you have to assume what's true for you is also true for others... and then write about it. Or something. I'm totally botching it.)

The Suzzzz said...

I know those moments, I had one last night and I ended up sleeping on the couch because it felt less lonely than the bed. So I know where you are coming from, but I also wanted to tell you that there are worse things than being alone.

Touch is a powerful thing, seeing the effect touch has on people is why I became a massage therapist 14 years ago. We all need appropriate touch, which is why I think this woman is a genius